Android malware masquerades as Nintendo game emulator

Gunpoder contains several malicious functions and steals data

Palo Alto Networks has found a new family of Android malware that masquerades as a Nintendo game emulator.

Palo Alto Networks has found a new family of Android malware that masquerades as a Nintendo game emulator.

A new family of Android malware adds insult to injury by making users pay for the data-stealing application.

Palo Alto Networks found three variants of the malware, which it calls Gunpoder, masquerading as emulator applications used to play Nintendo games.

Antivirus engines are having trouble detecting Gunpoder's malicious code since it is packaged with an adware library called Airpush, wrote Cong Zheng and Zhi Xu of Palo Alto's Unit 42 research group.

"The malware samples successfully use these advertisement libraries to hide malicious behaviors from detection by antivirus engines," they wrote. "While antivirus engines may flag Gunpoder as being adware, by not flagging it as being overtly malicious, most engines will not prevent Gunpoder from executing."

Gunpoder apps can do a variety of invasive actions, including collecting bookmarks and browser histories, sending itself to other people over SMS, showing fraudulent advertisements and executing other code.

And users get to pay for that data-stealing capability. When a Gunpoder app is launched, it asks users to buy a lifelong license for the emulator for US$0.20 or $0.49, payable through PayPal or Skrill.

So far, Gunpoder appears to be targeting people in Iraq, Thailand, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Russia, France, Mexico, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Italy, the U.S. and Spain, Palo Alto said.

Curiously, the malware is programmed to not send itself by SMS to other numbers in a phone's contact list if the user is in China.

Its coders have also co-opted the Airpush advertising library with a fraudulent ad.

"The fraudulent advertisement page attempts to mimic a Facebook page," Palo Alto wrote. "It requests that victims finish a number of surveys and asks them to install various applications in order to receive a gift."

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags palo alto networkssecuritymobilemalware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?